I was working full-time as a registered nurse about two years ago, and we had just gotten our dog a few months before that. He (the dog) is a greyhound, and they have pretty sensitive tummies, so I started making my own treats for him because we were spending hundreds of dollars on all these different pet-store treats that he just wouldn’t eat or got sick from.
I started with all-natural treats that are human-grade, and then eventually I started making accessories for him as the only items I could find had fire hydrants and dog bones on it. I really love pop culture, so I started making my own accessories and curating good-quality fabric. Shortly after I thought I might be able to sell these along with the biscuits, and that’s how it all started!
Collaborating with other artists, hands down. I started collaborating with other artists in the city after my first Market Collective—once I got a feel for what kind of talent we had in our city. A lot of bandanas that I do now are from when I commissioned local artists in Calgary for their artwork to put on the fabric. It’s a cool way to collaborate and to really support other artists in Calgary.
I have done collaborations with Amber from Dixie + Twine and Drizzle Honey—who used their honey in my pumpkin-spice dog biscuits. I also love seeing dogs with Drake all over their neck.
Calgary has such a welcoming community when it comes to small businesses and artists. The city is just so supportive, and collaborating is such a great way to support and promote one another. There is so much talent in our community and collaborating keeps ideas fresh.
Calgary has an amazing art scene. I have found that there are just so many talented individuals here, and there are so many resources in Calgary with things like YYC Girl Gang featuring local boss babes— getting together every month and putting on different speakers really just brings the business community together.
Calgary is more about community than competition, and it’s not just something people say here—I have seen it to be true. I have spoken to other artists in large Canadian cities and they describe the small business and artist community to be extremely cut-throat.
Despite the recession, businesses in Calgary have supported each other. For example, I have had pop-ups at the Livery Shop and that brings my customers into their store and exposes my business to their clientele base. Yes, we have great businesses and great ideas, but businesses back-up other businesses. I think that is what keeps small businesses going in Calgary.
I am a born-and-raised Calgarian, and I have lived here for more than 26 years of my life and found that within the last few years there has been more buzz in the city when it comes to restaurants, shops and small businesses. This might be in part due to the recession and people losing their jobs and deciding to start their own entrepreneurial journey, but I think there has been recent buzz and growth in Calgary culture.
I love the Calgary Stampede! Most people are surprised I love it because I grew up here, but I actually worked at the Stampede for a little bit over six years when I was in university and studying to be a nurse. I absolutely love it!
I also love Inglewood. Everything is so walkable and close to the river and it has some great small businesses and restaurants. Honestly, anywhere along the Bow River—I am really enjoying East Village right now. It’s just an exciting new development.
I like to call myself an urban adventurist—I like to go anywhere downtown. I love looking for cool walls, and that’s what I really do with my spare time. I just go out on my bike and look for fun walls to put on my blog. Every week I do a “wall of the week” and go out and do a blog post on the location of the wall.
It’s so important to support your local economy because small businesses are the backbone of Alberta and Calgary, especially when there is economic downturn. Customers love seeing businesses work together. Collaborating says a lot for businesses’ ethics, morals and values.
Calgary is such a young city and full of so much talent, so why would you not want to tap into those resources.
I have worked/collaborated with a lot of businesses in the community, but I think I could do a really fun collaboration with Camp Brand Goods. They design all their own T-shirts and sweat-styles, so I think I could do an outdoor-themed dog bandana—something like that would be so fun to do and collaborate on. I also love their values and the work they have done for Pride and Camp fYrefly, and I feel like they are just a well-rounded individuals.
I’m a complete Instagram addict, so I find a lot of my inspiration from poplar pop culture and fun shops like Dixie + Twine—they give me pretty fun inspiration for new designs. I also love seeing people laugh when they see my products, even if they state, “I would never put this on my dog.” It’s just nice to see people get a chuckle.
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